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Why Facebook's Network Effects Are Overrated

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the on-sober-reflection dept.

Facebook 183

An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from a contrarian take on the power of Facebook from hacker Benjamin Mako-Hill: "A lot of people interested in free software, and user autonomy and network services are very worried about Facebook. Folks are worried for the same reason that so many investors are interested: the networks effects brought by hundreds of millions of folks signed up to use the service. ... Facebook is vulnerable to the next thing more than many technology firms that have benefited from network effects in the past. If users are given compelling reasons to switch to something else, they can with less trouble and they will. That compelling reason might be a new social network with better features or an awesome distributed architecture that allows freedom for users and the ability of those users to benefit from new and fantastic things that Facebook's overseers would never let them have and without the things Facebook's users suffer through today. Or it might be a sexier proprietary box to store users' private information. It doesn't mean that I'm not worried about Facebook. I remain deeply worried. It's just not very hard for me to imagine the end."

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183 comments

Data ownership (4, Insightful)

Martz (861209) | about 2 years ago | (#40206801)

Users don't care about who owns their data.

Sit down with the average user and explain to them that Facebook owns their comments, photos, videos, metadata - and they totally don't care. Suggest to them that Facebook might start charging the user for the service (obviously they won't) and the user will freak out as that costs them something real and tangible.

The author of this article is basically saying that Facebook is vulnerable to failure because the mass of people might leave and join another service. The reason for that happening would be to join a free and open network, but as I stated before (without evidence) most users don't care about a company owning their data anyway - so it's not going to happen.

For Facebook to fail it has to stop innovating and offering new features, and a competitor has to come up with something new and cool. People will not "leave" Facebook - they'll sign up with the competitor and forget to go back to Facebook to check on what's going on.

Facebook is going to be around for a while yet, regardless of if geeks "get it" or think it's worth something.

When facebook came out ... (5, Interesting)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about 2 years ago | (#40206827)

... I registered for an account

The few times I was there I felt uncomfortable

Everyone was telling everybody else everything about themselves - their name, their phone #, their address, their hobby ... everything

Maybe I'm just old fashion. Privacy for me is something very important

I haven't been to facebook for years, and I don't miss it

Re:When facebook came out ... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40206929)

There was a time when it all made sense. When I first signed up for facebook, it was only people at my university and a handful of other universities. People at other universities could see that you exist, and could message you. You could set your privacy so that only people from your university could see your info. This made sense in the context of not knowing what Facebook's future plans were. At the time it was a very convenient way of keeping up with people you met on campus. Honestly, facebook was ruined when they let the masses in, but it's obvious now that that was their plan all along. When they let the high schoolers and the unwashed masses in, I was reminded again of Eternal September on USENET.

Re:When facebook came out ... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40207417)

If you were old enough to "remember" the eternal sept. why the hell were still a student when facebook was young and budding? (2005-ish)

Re:When facebook came out ... (1, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | about 2 years ago | (#40207035)

Maybe Facebook isn't for you but 99% of the human race seems to like it. That's what counts, not what a bunch of old-timers think of it.

Re:When facebook came out ... (4, Insightful)

Sique (173459) | about 2 years ago | (#40207181)

Actually, about 10% of the human race like it. That's the actual number of accounts compared with the size of the human population. That means that 90% of the world still doesn't have an account with facebook.

Re:When facebook came out ... (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 2 years ago | (#40207241)

How many of those 90% would jump on board if they head easy Internet access?

Re:When facebook came out ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40207313)

none

Re:When facebook came out ... (4, Informative)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | about 2 years ago | (#40207429)

No one can answer that but what we do know is that as of the end of 2010 only 30% of the world's population apparently has internet access. So if only 10% of the world's population likes FB that means 20% who have net access still opt not to have it and not due to technical limitations.

http://news.yahoo.com/disconnected-70-percent-world-doesnt-internet-despite-rising-201836035.html [yahoo.com]

I suspect increasingly a lot of FB accounts are doing to be dud accounts of no real value because companies like spotify force people to login via Facebook so they create an account just so they can have spotify.

Spotify and everyone else has to quit assuming everyone on the net has a Facebook account. They don't and in fact most people don't.

Re:When facebook came out ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40207557)

Four. It's four. They did a study and everything.

Re:When facebook came out ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40207617)

everyone

Re:When facebook came out ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40207185)

So, 1% of us are old-timers who hate Facebook? That doesn't sound like a bunch.

Get off my internets! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40207333)

Maybe Facebook isn't for you but 99% of the human race seems to like it.

That's about the same percentage of the human race that has absolutely nothing of value to offer humanity, isn't it?

That's what counts, not what a bunch of old-timers think of it.

Thanks for the laugh. One day sooner than you think, you'll be an "old-timer", too. That's the nice thing about aging - it happens everyone at the same speed - too goddamn fast.

Real kids already think Facebook is for you old-timers anyway. Tomorrow, they will respond to you with "Facebook who, old man?"

Again, thanks for the laugh, Old Pup.

Re:When facebook came out ... (4, Interesting)

Lisias (447563) | about 2 years ago | (#40207059)

I ended up using it by force.

My son (that lives far away) and childhood friends are there, and just there (a managed to convince some of them to go to G+, but just a few).

So basically I signup with my well known email and my first name - no other personal information added.

No big privacy at all, I know. But better than nothing.

Re:When facebook came out ... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40207149)

The IT lifers on slashdot don't get it, but the average person doesn't give a rats ass about privacy. If you do? Don't share anything of value on Facebook, just use it to interact with distant relatives, old friends, whatever. Nothing worth griping about on EVERY Facebook article posted here.

Re:When facebook came out ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40207347)

And yet here we are, you're telling us about yourself with this barely relevant anecdote (yes barely relevant, we know some people care about privacy and data ownership, another anecdote does not add anything).

Everybody is a narcissist to some degree.

The horror (2, Funny)

anyaristow (1448609) | about 2 years ago | (#40207359)

Everyone was telling everybody else everything about themselves - their name, their phone #, their address, their hobby... everything

OMG the horror. People making social connections and finding things to talk about.

Re:Data ownership (2)

moozey (2437812) | about 2 years ago | (#40206911)

Agreed. A lot of people are so quick to suggest that Facebook is going to turn out like Myspace in a matter of months but in reality that really couldn't be further from the truth... Usually the people who suggest it also have a huge dislike for the service for whatever reason.

The summary suggests that Facebook could be ousted by a new site coming a long with some new features and what not, but If Facebook sees another site as a threat, there's nothing stopping it from implementing whatever new attributes they're plugging before it affects their user base. Or better yet, there's nothing stopping them from buying the damn company like they did with Instagram.

Re:Data ownership (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40206951)

From TFA:

Remember Friendster? Remember Orkut? Remember Tribe? Remember MySpace? MySpace, and all the others, are great examples of how social networks die. They very slowly fade away.

Where did your "matter of months" come from?

Captcha: accuracy ;-)

Re:Data ownership (2)

s.t.a.l.k.e.r._loner (2591761) | about 2 years ago | (#40207013)

Agreed. A lot of people are so quick to suggest that Facebook is going to turn out like Myspace in a matter of months but in reality that really couldn't be further from the truth...

If you want to see the digital equivalent of tumbleweeds, go check out MySpace. Just for the hell of it, I logged into my MySpace the other day for the first time in many months, and the only thing I saw there was dozens of bulletin posts by one band whose posts I used to ignore every couple days. About 4 years ago, MySpace added a bunch of worthless features (apparently trying to copy the increasingly popular Facebook) and increasingly in-your-face advertisements, and not coincidentally most people made the migration to Facebook. Then about 2 years ago, Facebook started adding a bunch of features that reminded a bunch of us of MySpace's missteps... but oddly enough, people didn't migrate away. They do seem to have a much better thought-out system, and their people-searching is top notch. Facebook probably will go away in a few years and be replaced by something else, but it's definitely not fading away in the foreseeable months.

Re:Data ownership (2)

moozey (2437812) | about 2 years ago | (#40207063)

Well, supposedly come the end of the year, Myspace is going to be launched again as some revamped music service. Justin Timberlake and a few other idiots bought it for ~$35 million... talk about beating a dead horse.

Re:Data ownership (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 2 years ago | (#40207047)

I think they only bought Instagram because the IPO was looming. It could have wiped more than a billion off the IPO so in that sense the money was unimportant to them.

I think the only thing that could unseat Facebook to any great extent is a site that allowed adult content. People posting pictures of their genitals and doing that 'cyber' thing.

Re:Data ownership (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40207069)

Or better yet, there's nothing stopping them from buying the damn company like they did with Instagram.

Well, the company owners could be stopping them from buying, by just not selling.

Re:Data ownership (1)

Pieroxy (222434) | about 2 years ago | (#40207125)

Or better yet, there's nothing stopping them from buying the damn company like they did with Instagram.

Well, the company owners could be stopping them from buying, by just not selling.

Not many people are just going to flatly refuse a $1 billion check. Really not many.

Re:Data ownership (4, Insightful)

Lisias (447563) | about 2 years ago | (#40207081)

Facebook *is* going to turn out like Myspace - I just don't know when - perhaps not in my lifetime.

People are always looking for the next big thing - and the satisfaction saturation (that precedes boredom and the desire to change) are reached exponentially faster after each change.

Orkut lasted almost 10 years. Perhaps Facebook will face its book, I mean, its nemesis in 6. But I don't think it will manage to last more than 10 years.

Re:Data ownership (4, Insightful)

rev0lt (1950662) | about 2 years ago | (#40207113)

I'd say that, after the unsurprisingly disappointing IPO, the infinite money faucet has closed. Give them some months to settle, and then you'll start to see less monkeying around new features and more commercial focusing. People didn't buy Facebook shares to "finance the vision". They bought them to make money, and for that, they need to have a business model (and I really doubt that advertising - at current levels - is enough to keep the lights on).
When they start to put more ads, when some new features start to be paid, it will be the beginning of the end.

Re:Data ownership (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40207279)

damn incorrect mod. this is right

Re:Data ownership (1)

leonardluen (211265) | about 2 years ago | (#40207671)

Zuckerberg still owns more than 50% of the voting rights for Facebook. he doesn't have to care what the other stock holders think. it might as well have never gone IPO it is pretty much still his private company.

Re:Data ownership (1)

foniksonik (573572) | about 2 years ago | (#40207425)

Pintrest is gaining on FB very quickly.

It's doing so by being LESS than Facebook, not more.

How do they counter that?

Re:Data ownership (0)

alen (225700) | about 2 years ago | (#40206915)

Facebook doesn't own my data, I still have all my photos I uploaded

And it's not like I'm going to do a mass upload if I switch to another network

Facebook is the network. Seem like every other site or mobile app uses Facebook for authentication. It's like what openid was supposed to be

Read the EULA (5, Informative)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | about 2 years ago | (#40207039)

Facebook doesn't own my data, I still have all my photos I uploaded

Actually by uploading your private data to Facebook you granted them a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide IP-license to use any of your stuff long as it is on the Facebook network even if it isn't posted there under your account. From their EULA:

"For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (IP content), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it."

Re:Read the EULA (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40207061)

They need something like that EULA otherwise they can't share your photos/videos with other people.

And of course they're not going to bother making it so narrow.

Re:Read the EULA (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40207143)

Are you trying to tell me, that if I upload my pictures to the service to publishes them to my contacts, then the service will have the right to publish those pictures to my contacts? Shocking.

You know, I always uploaded pictures on Facebook with intention to publish them to contacts. That is the whole point. I'm even fine with them not paying me money for publishing those pictures to my contact. And if I'm uploading them as 'public', then I'm fine with them showing them to anybody. That is what the 'public' setting is for.

Re:Read the EULA (4, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 2 years ago | (#40207323)

Are you trying to tell me, that if I upload my pictures to the service to publishes them to my contacts, then the service will have the right to publish those pictures to my contacts?

Yes. They also have the right to sell those pictures to anyone who wants to buy them, such as Starbucks for promotional material, or if you upload sexually explicit photos then they would be legally allowed to sell them to porn sites. The same applies to any music that you upload, along with any writings or other creative content.

Re:Read the EULA (2)

tenco (773732) | about 2 years ago | (#40207463)

Interesting. Why do you think they can ignore that "subject to your privacy settings" part?

Re:Read the EULA (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 2 years ago | (#40207581)

Because your privacy settings are defined on a scale that Facebook controls, separately to the T&Cs. If they want to sell something of yours, all that they have to do is change the definition of the 'private' setting to mean 'share only with people who pay money, or are on your authorised people list'.

Re:Read the EULA (1)

sqrt(2) (786011) | about 2 years ago | (#40207479)

Except that would go against the other parts of their own user agreement which says I retain rights to the photos I upload. They only have the right to share them with people I authorize based on my privacy settings and friends list.

Re:Read the EULA (4, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 2 years ago | (#40207597)

You retain the copyright on them, you grant them a license. Facebook doesn't own your photographs, just the right to do whatever thy want to them. Oh, and you only have to have left them public for a second for Facebook to transfer this license to a subsidiary, at which point the 'unless already shared' clause kicks in.

Re:Read the EULA (2)

bickerdyke (670000) | about 2 years ago | (#40207325)

There is nothing in that EULA that would keep facebook from publishing your non-public pictures to your non-contacts.

Re:Read the EULA (2)

Gr8Apes (679165) | about 2 years ago | (#40207383)

You didn't read the EULA. Not only can they share it with your contacts, they can use it for any purpose they desire, including ads for Facebook, etc. Even if you delete said content, as long as even one of the original people you shared it with has a copy (or link) then they will still have rights to it. In short, until all copies are deleted off FB, including the ones that you shared (and perhaps they shared....), your content is not yours. You see how you've lost control?

Re:Data ownership (1)

Lisias (447563) | about 2 years ago | (#40207097)

Facebook doesn't own my data, I still have all my photos I uploaded

Yes. You're right.

What facebook owns is the RIGHT to make money with your stuff, no matter what you want.

You post that fabulous sketch of yours and someone decided to offer a 100.000 bucks for using it on some advertising campaign? Sign that FAST, as Facebook can use your sketch and charge less!

Re:Data ownership (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40207191)

You post that fabulous sketch of yours and someone decided to offer a 100.000 bucks for using it on some advertising campaign? Sign that FAST, as Facebook can use your sketch and charge less!

Yeah, that happens all the time.

Re:Data ownership (1)

Lisias (447563) | about 2 years ago | (#40207511)

As a matter of fact, I know some designers and yes, this is a concern for them - they make a living from that sketches.

A 100.000 bucks advertising campaign is not so scarce as you may think.

But granted, I never knew someone that got this for ONE sketch.

Re:Data ownership (2)

Certhas (2310124) | about 2 years ago | (#40206959)

More so, it's hard to leave. People are invested in the infrastructure. It carries their data, their pictures and activities, and a lot of metadata about their pictures and activities (like tags in the pictures).

There is no reason why we shouldn't all start referring to "tables" as "papgualas", but it still will never happen. Facebook just needs to not be significantly worse. G+ was IMO significantly better than facebook when it launched. But I still couldn't switch because I would have needed to convince everybody I want to coordinate with using that infrastructure to switch with me.

Re:Data ownership (1)

Lisias (447563) | about 2 years ago | (#40207117)

More so, it's hard to leave. People are invested in the infrastructure. It carries their data, their pictures and activities, and a lot of metadata about their pictures and activities (like tags in the pictures).

I don't think so.

People are "commodities" nowadays. We're living on a "throw away" culture that extended the discardable concept to the relationships.

People don't care about photos and metatags, all what they care is the "Like counter".

The next big thing will be the one that will manage to somehow "import" the "Like counter". The content is secondary.

G+ was IMO significantly better than facebook when it launched. But I still couldn't switch because I would have needed to convince everybody I want to coordinate with using that infrastructure to switch with me.

I managed to bring some to G+ using a dirty trick. :-)

All my content is posted to G+, and then crossposted to Facebook.

Unfortunately, it's not far the day that Facebook will notice this and start to boycott G+ content. But until there, I'm fighting the good fight. :-)

Re:Data ownership (1)

Lisias (447563) | about 2 years ago | (#40207127)

Damnit. I forgot the [QUOTE] tag on the second parent quoting.

The sentence that starts with "G+ was IMO" belongs to parent post.

Re:Data ownership (2)

shiftless (410350) | about 2 years ago | (#40206987)

most users don't care about a company owning their data anyway - so it's not going to happen.

Sure they do.

They just don't care enough to ditch FB because of it.

Give them a real alternative (no, G+ doesn't count), and watch people switch in droves.

Re:Data ownership (4, Informative)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 2 years ago | (#40207005)

The author of TFA is also missing something even more fundamental and that is the users don't give a damned about free as in freedom all they give a shit about is convenient. Most users of FB that I've watched are using it for the same reason my GF uses it, and that is to keep in touch with distant friends/relatives easier than email. Her old HS buddies and distant relatives can find her in seconds on FB and contact her, no need to know an email address, and they can keep in touch through FB with a minimum of work.

So the ONLY way I could see FB going down is if they did the same dumbass mistake that MySpace did, and that was spamming the crap out of the users. Everyone I know ditched MySpace not because they didn't like it or felt the need for the "freedom" of FB, its just because MySpace started spamming all over the place. With a service like FB its really their audience to lose, and by doing smart moves like buying Zynga (I swear those games are like catnip to females) I just don't see any real dumbass moves happening.

But I don't think something "cool" would be enough because people are basically lazy and FB could just copy whatever the feature was just as Zynga rips off other games. No the only way I see FB going down is if they decide they need to "monetize the users more" and basically crap all over the network but I haven't seen any signs so far they are THAT stupid.

Re:Data ownership (3, Insightful)

Pieroxy (222434) | about 2 years ago | (#40207175)

No the only way I see FB going down is if they decide they need to "monetize the users more" and basically crap all over the network but I haven't seen any signs so far they are THAT stupid.

Watch the stock go below $15 and they'll become that stupid. It's a matter of days.

Re:Data ownership (3, Interesting)

k(wi)r(kipedia) (2648849) | about 2 years ago | (#40207461)

So the ONLY way I could see FB going down is if they did the same dumbass mistake that MySpace did, and that was spamming the crap out of the users.

I see two ways that FB could go down. First is when they run out of money because they couldn't monetize their xillion users. This could very well be the fear behind the stock price decline.

Second is Facebook failing to provide a suddenly popular feature that another social networking site has. This feature can be anything from better-than-Skype video conferencing to practical telepresence.

I suspect what allowed Facebook to leap ahead of MySpace was the Flash games. The bandwagon effect ensured that MySpace was left behind, as more and more users deserted a site that was becoming less and less cool.

Re:Data ownership (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | about 2 years ago | (#40207507)

No the only way I see FB going down is if they decide they need to "monetize the users more" and basically crap all over the network but I haven't seen any signs so far they are THAT stupid.

Just like Google wasn't going to be evil?

..untill someone tells them they can't have it. (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 2 years ago | (#40207021)

users start caring when the os tells them that they're locked out of their user account for having michael jackson mp3's.

for most things facebook is a convinient single sign on platform, nothing more. the rest of the things is that it's a miniblog feed and mini wiki(for events and such).

Re:Data ownership (1, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | about 2 years ago | (#40207023)

Facebook is safe.

Moving all those photos, messages and contacts to a different site simply isn't going to happen.

Don't forget that Facebook can copy whatever the other site is offering before it can even gather momentum.

Re:Data ownership (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40207037)

>Sit down with the average user and explain to them that Facebook owns their comments, photos, videos, metadata - and they totally don't care.

They don't care because what you are saying IS NOT EVEN ACTUALLY TRUE.

Facebook's Terms of Usage say they have the right to use your content: Facebook does not somehow magically own it.

Re:Data ownership (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 2 years ago | (#40207399)

The Facebook T&Cs grant more rights to Facebook than the contract I have with my publisher grants to them. They don't own that content in the strictest legal sense, but they can act as if they do in almost every way.

Re:Data ownership (1)

StripedCow (776465) | about 2 years ago | (#40207299)

Of course something is going to happen to facebook. They have hijacked the open internet. They have effectively created an "internet inside the internet".
It is not like governments are going to stand by and do nothing about it.

Re:Data ownership (1)

crashumbc (1221174) | about 2 years ago | (#40207305)

Exactly,

What killed MySpace was itself, it was a good first attempt but missed the mark. It's fault was it actually gave people to much control over their pages. All I remember about it was getting annoyed because each "kid" (and that was its demographic) had 3-4 music players set to auto play over each other. Add to that the themed pages you couldn't read because it was black on blacker font...

Facebook, solved those issues and made it "grandma" friendly. The demographic that found social networking usable went from kids,goths,bands to basically everyone. Once everyone was on it, it only got stronger.

That's also FB's strength everyone is on it( /. geeks not withstanding). Whatever eventually competes with and ultimately beats FB will have to overcome this. Community(real or imagined) is what will keep FB on top.

Re:Data ownership (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40207351)

One word proves how "people leaving Facebook en mass" /is/ going to happen - MySpace.

Facebook will change or die (3, Insightful)

AndrewStephens (815287) | about 2 years ago | (#40206803)

Facebook has reached the pinnacle of social networking - the only place to go now is downhill unless they change. They already have every user who wants a page, the only new users are young kids just getting online - not Facebook's target demographic. Also, they have just gone public which puts pressure on the company to make more money.

I predict Facebook will start to branch out into video and music more and more in an attempt to get more pages views - it must be galling for Facebook to see people sharing videos with YouTube advertising instead of Facebook's. They are going to have to be careful, users don't like change.

(One thing users don't want is a whole slew of different social networks. I am on Facebook and G+, but I would only use one if either gave me full control over who sees what. I think projects like Diaspora are always going to be niche ideas)

Re:Facebook will change or die (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40206925)

"They already have every user who wants a page, the only new users are young kids just getting online - not Facebook's target demographic."

Granny and Peepaw are joining now, the parents are already there.
That means it's time the young generation moves on because it's now uncool.

Only human. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40206815)

Humans tend to not like being alone, but congregate in tribes. In fact we separate ourselves for punishment. If you can provide a easy (better) method for distant tribe members to communicate with each other they will use it. I am not worried. We will do what we do best.

Adapt.

Maybe I'm a sub-human (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40206835)

Humans tend to not like being alone

I do not feel comfy with large crowd

Maybe I'm a sub-human, or a droid, or something :)

Re:Maybe I'm a sub-human (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40206941)

Even us sub-humans congregate.
That is why we post here.

(Or am I just another anonymous coward talking to myself)

Re:Maybe I'm a sub-human (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40207115)

happily post here anonymously. But happier to not be a member of facebook, twitter, myspace, or linkedin.

if diaspora would be as easy as skype... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40206891)

...and offered only _one_ sexy feature, people would use it. Imagine the ability to securely share data you want to share (and only that) together with "real life" plugins that are handy for everyone (secure online voting, tax declaration help, shopping list analysis,...) people would not only use it, it would become more of a "personal information container/backlog" as fb is today...

Leather nfl jerseys for sale Messenger Bag For Wo (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40206895)

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Article is wrong. (2)

will_die (586523) | about 2 years ago | (#40206903)

The article is wrong because FB is not about new features or the architecture. FB power is that I can connect with easily with people of similar interests.
With FB it is easy to setup local group, and invite people, or for them to find it, of similar interested and then all those people plan, talk about or support the topic.
Until something new can get everyone to switch over to that system there is no value in me, a single person, switching to that new site. Even in the event that facebook does something totally stupid to upset the users it will not loose that many because the abaility it provides for communication is worth some hassles.

Re:Article is wrong. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40206919)

if it's so easy to connect with "people of similar interests", try connecting to people "interested in topic XY who are currently in 5km radius around you." FB won't let you, although they have the data.
Why do they regulate that and won't stuff everything in their public UI? The answer on that are the keys for a successful p2p social network, i guess.

Re:Article is wrong. (1)

nospam007 (722110) | about 2 years ago | (#40206939)

"The article is wrong because FB is not about new features or the architecture. FB power is that I can connect with easily with people of similar interests."

Just as usenet in the 80ies, Compuserve or AOL in the 90ies and so on.
They're all mostly dead now. And they even charged money every fucking month.

No content (3, Insightful)

antifoidulus (807088) | about 2 years ago | (#40206955)

Wow, the article wasted a lot of words essentially saying nothing. Heres the article in 1 sentence: Facebook is big now, but like others before it, it may not be big forever.

See, was that so hard?

Facebook uncool (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40207091)

FB is increasingly becoming "uncool". Many users that I know aren't using their accounts that much and of course, they're still counted as "active" users - like Slashdot. There are users with UIDs in the two million range, but how many are really active? Sure, Slashdot can say they have over two million registered users, but if you advertise here, how many would you actually reach? And we're not even considering those of us with Adblock.

I see the same thing happening to FB.

And with the continuous bad press about privacy and data retention and ownership, FB use is doomed.

Re:Facebook uncool (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40207139)

Thankfully the bulk of Facebook's usebase aren't angry virgin beta geeks, so your notion that any large percentage of their user base case about data retention and ownership is invalid.

Re:No content (2)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | about 2 years ago | (#40207213)

Wow, the article wasted a lot of words essentially saying nothing. Heres the article in 1 sentence: Facebook is big now, but like others before it, it may not be big forever.

See, was that so hard?

Hard? No, but distilling their message down to a sentence that can fit on twitter doesn't do anything for their ad revenue.

Re:No content (1)

FrootLoops (1817694) | about 2 years ago | (#40207239)

There's slightly more to it. Something like...

(a) People can easily use Facebook and alternatives simultaneously.
(b) Users are only interested in freshly generated data.
Neither is true of Windows, so Facebook can be far more easily replaced than Windows. The end.

That argument sucks too--using multiple OSes is extremely common with smartphones and people are interested in their old pictures, so at least two of the four premises have gaping holes. The article wasn't worth the read and I'm not sure why it was even accepted.

There's no reason to be worried... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40206979)

The first quarterly reports are going to give a huge reality check to investors (and to FB).

But then indeed why worry about FB? The one thing worrying about FB is the level of idiocy the posts are reaching there, even those made by people you thought had at least a few neurons.

It's really the low of the low that are still "expressing" themselves through FB.

I don't see anywhere near as much interesting (political, economical, technical, ...) posts as before: the smart users have realized how much of their privacy was exposed and "owned" by FB and decided to shut their mouth off. Same for pictures: people are turning to higher security settings (for the "knowledgeable ones") or simply not posting that much pictures anymore.

I know that the paid MS / FB astroturfing trolls are going to say that Google is dead and irrelevant but I find the quality of the posts on Google+ way more interesting. The only "posts" that are interesting on FB are some of the links to other websites or... To G+ posts! (a trend which I'm noticing is increasing).

FB is not something were people do put interesting contents: who cares if 25% of whichever website is coming from FB? These are just links. As soon as there's another way to find content, people will use it. My girlfriend loves the very visual "pinterest" for example.

It's the newest sh*t on the block for her and she's not into her FB as much as she used to.

I can't see FB reinvent themselves: they're the ultimate one trick poney (honestly when I read about the MS / FB astroturfing trolls telling us that Google is a one trick poney I can't stop laughing) and their trick has been exposed and users don't like half as much as they used to.

Yes, I do check my FB three times a week. No, I wouldn't miss it should it go away overnight.

The Internet as a whole wouldn't either. It would be replaced in a heartbeat.

Good luck with those quarterly reports. At $1 I may consider buying some shares ; )

A distributed alternative (1)

Dodgy G33za (1669772) | about 2 years ago | (#40207015)

It is feasible to create a distributed version of Facebook without the need for central servers accept to connect users together initially, in the way that Skype or a torrent file does. If you made connections invite via email, you could do away with the central site completely.

You would need always-on devices to make it work well, but the chief benefit would be that there was no need for your information to reside anywhere other than on your own machine (and in the cache of your friends if network speeds are an issue).

You would need one client per platform, and would need to allow a user to synch if they use multiple devices but that wouldn't be a big ask. The upside would be a much richer experience than a browser can give - you could seamlessly incorporate messaging and video into it.

wall warts? (1)

reiisi (1211052) | about 2 years ago | (#40207133)

It sounds like you're talking about wall wart servers. If so, I think you're on the right track.

Re:A distributed alternative (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | about 2 years ago | (#40207259)

The down side to this approach is bandwidth. If you don't have enough bandwidth at home to support your data and your household's personal internet use then one or both will suffer from poor performance.

If you can't use the internet because your personal data server is taking up too much bandwidth you'll throttle it. If your personal data is too slow to load for others they won't be patient enough to view it, which would render your personal data server pretty much pointless.

I do like your idea of your personal data on your own personal server. You'd control everything. What you really need is a standardized CMS that runs on your own server (personal or hosted) that your friends' "viewers" can read. Basically a personalized RSS feed that you control access to using verifiable authentication (perhaps key pairs?). The down side to this is cost and administration. Most people aren't interested in investing money or time. Instead they'd rather trust someone else with their data and the responsibility of making it available to others.

Re:A distributed alternative (1)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about 2 years ago | (#40207431)

It's an interesting idea, but it will not appeal to the masses if setting it up is as easy and cheap as getting a FB account.

what kind of (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40207051)

fool uses his real name on FB? or birthday? or birthplace? or marital status? or educational background? or professional background?

FB is a toy. A time waster. A tool for *me.*

Re:what kind of (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40207151)

Horrible. Someone who already knows me in person will learn my birthday, marital status and educational background.

Perpetual Data (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40207101)

Facebook can turn this whole privacy thing on it's head with one smart business move - promise to keep your data public on the internet forever, if you pay for it during your lifetime. I have several dead friends now where the facebook pages they left behind are the best way to remember them, as they are full of pictures and movies and things they said and did. But there has never been a guarantee that the data will be there forever.

If facebook started charging people a few bucks a year to guarantee their data will never be deleted, I think that would be an excellent value-add.

where the friends are (1)

johnrpenner (40054) | about 2 years ago | (#40207147)

you might have a fancy club n all - but if all yr friends are down at the pub, where you gonna go??

nobody's going to switch from facebook unless all 300 of their friends have magically switched to another service at the same time as they have - this is why google's social network never caught on. having another social network with only twenty of yr friends is useless if the other 270 are still on facebook.

2cents from toronto
jp

Called Balance of Power (1)

retroworks (652802) | about 2 years ago | (#40207163)

Facebook is like a truly famous celebrity. It has a lot of clout and power. But if it uses that power, and someone else comes on the scene, it could quickly go the way of Warren Beatty Ishtar (names my kids have never even heard of). Google and credit cards have more access to private info and potential for abuse (I use gmail), but haven't made any really bad movies yet. The only problem I see with Facebook is what choices it will make with my data tomorrow.

The next big network is the network. (1)

reiisi (1211052) | about 2 years ago | (#40207173)

Server in your fixed (wired) phone. Your backup is at your phone company (access provider) in the usual case, maybe at some specialy "cloud" company under certain special conditions.

Your phone serves your blog, your tweets, your picture and other sharing, your family bbs, etc. If it's your year to do the soccer club's site, you host it on your phone.

Google or LinkedIn or maybe FaceBok or some other similar company takes care of the links you use to connect with your virtual community.

Simple.

Eben Moglen's take (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40207183)

Same stance, but more eloquently worded & thought out:

http://archive.org/details/EbenMoglen-WhyFreedomOfThoughtRequiresFreeMediaAndWhyFreeMedia

And this is why: (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#40207223)

You can't reasonably expect to go back through everything you've ever posted on Facebook. The further you go into history the less likely it is that what you're trying to bring up will ever load. They want you to forget the past. Problem with that for them is that if you forget the past it can't tie you to them, either.

Facebook is a lek. (2)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 2 years ago | (#40207277)

A lek is the courtship ritual in many species of grouse, pheasants etc. Essentially the males gather in some clearing and do their courtship dance. Females gather around and choose their mates. The most interesting thing about the lek is that, most females choose the male chosen by most other males. It is essentially the perceived popularity of the males becomes the actual popularity. Scientists have done experiments using robotic female birds, and by making the robotic females change their preferences, other real females also would switch their preferences.

Facebook is popular because most people thought it was the most popular social network and joined it. It was exactly like most businesses choosing Microsoft windows in early 1990s because they all believed most businesses were choosing Microsoft windows. One of the consequences of lek courtship behavior in birds is that, species that practiced it produce the most ostentatious males with outrageously useless features like seen in peacocks and birds of paradise. Much in the same way Microsoft in its heyday and Facebook now go for so many bells and whistles whether or not they are useful.

Re:Facebook is a lek. (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 2 years ago | (#40207301)

Typo correction

most females choose the male chosen by most other males. wrong

most females choose the male chosen by most other females. right

Facebook is Meh (2)

Jay Tarbox (48535) | about 2 years ago | (#40207353)

Recently the wife and I tried an experiment, we put an ad on Facebook for a few days about her eBook. I targeted it to 18+ females with an interest in reading/romance/kindle and so on... In theory it's pretty cool how you can target an audience based on their profiles. Facebook will tell you dynamically exactly how many people meet the criteria as you add and remove options.

We saw no effect in book sales. Before, during and after the advertising, sales remained on average the same.

noooo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40207361)

Facebook will flourish for a thousand years and more. Promise. Really. Yes.

cb

In this thread (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40207371)

A lot of hipsters incensed that Facebook isn't honest and a few old timers trying to tell then (to deaf ears) of the facts.

Why Facebook is Facebook (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 2 years ago | (#40207377)

Facebook has their market share because they were available and easy when the great unwashed masses of old people decided it would be cool to get on a social site. Right place, right time.

The reason facebook will fail is because someone will not just make a better site - it could be argued that Google has done a technically "better" site at least twice now. Facebook should be worried when all of the old people are at another site. MySpace died because they hung their hat on youth - and youth is very trendy and fickle. It's no big deal for them to change overnight, and they adapt very quickly. Facebook has all the people for whom moving to another site that's "better" has no payoff unless all of their friends are already there as well.

The momentum is strong with the facebook users. These are the folks who still have aol and yahoo email accounts. Until you get them all to move, none of them will bother.

Free software? (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 2 years ago | (#40207553)

FTA:

A lot of people interested in free software, and user autonomy and network services are very worried about Facebook.

How is free software related to this topic?

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